Column: Telepresence Creates New Experiences

Perspectives from a Positively Stressed Senior 
By Annie Delgado

What is the first thing that a student thinks about when they hear telepresence? Telepresence classes can seem scary when you first walk into the class. There are usually only a few kids, and monitors with students from other schools, and depending on what class you’re in, the teacher is also on the monitor.

For those of you who don’t know, telepresence classes are classes that use video cameras and monitors to communicate with classes at other schools. Telepresence classes were created if there was an overflow amount of kids in certain classes or if your school does not offer a certain class and you would like to take it. This has created some nerves in students, and some controversy because of people believing that everything is becoming technological. People may wonder, “Can you create relationships through telepresence classes?” Well, the answer is yes!

Personally, when I first walked into my AP U.S. History class and realized it was telepresence, I did not want to try it at all. I was prepared to go to my counselor and ask to switch out of the class. Now, I am so thankful that I did not!

Telepresence has brought me to meet one of my really good friends, and one of my favorite teachers that I have ever had. If I’m being honest, it is very hard to make relationships through a screen, but it is possible! Communication in a telepresence class is key, and the fact that you must communicate so much can lead to bonding very quickly.

The common misconceptions when it comes to telepresence are that the kids on the screen are quiet, that nobody really talks to each other, and that it’s hard to learn when the teacher is on the monitor.

In my class, my teacher made sure that the whole class communicated with each other in some form. She would give us projects that forced us to communicate with the other schools, whether we liked it or not, and that has helped me so much. It has helped push me out of my comfort zone when faced with situations that might, at the beginning, seem awkward. To be honest, I did not really want to work with people I didn’t know, because that would have made me uncomfortable, and we can’t have that! After working with them, I found out that the people I originally did not want to talk with, were some of the coolest people I had ever met!

​What I have learned from my telepresence class is that even if there are certain misconceptions that can seem scary, you should always try it for yourself. If I would have listened to what everyone else said, and dropped out I would have totally regretted it.

As a senior, I am now taking another telepresence class, and would have taken more if they were offered for my courses. Telepresence has allowed me to experience new things, meet new people, and get out of my comfort zone, and I wouldn’t change any of that!

​If someone was nervous or scared to try telepresence, I would tell them, “Telepresence has helped me meet new people and have experiences that I would not have had in a regular class, so you should definitely try it out!”

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